[Editor’s note: This post originally appeared in Vita Brevis on 22 August 2014.]
Now that my book on genealogical research methods (Elements of Genealogical Analysis) is out, I have turned my attention to the series of lectures I will be delivering in October and November ; these, in turn, will form the basis for a future book entitled Puritan Pedigrees: The Deep Roots of the Great Migration to New England.
In most of the Great Migration volumes, I have been able to examine the motivations of the migrating families only in the context of events at the time of migration. A few years ago, while working on The Winthrop Fleet, I began to get a better feel for the deeper connections and influences which had been developing for decades and for generations leading up to the migration decision. Continue reading ICYMI: Puritan Pedigrees
The Great Migration Directory attempts to include all those who immigrated to New England during the Great Migration, and only those immigrants. After much examination of the historical record, and particularly of the activities of the passenger vessels each spring, I determined that the Great Migration ended during 1640,1 and so this volume is designed to include every head of household or unattached individual who arrived between 1620 and 1640.
This basic conclusion must be tempered by two other considerations, which have always guided the Great Migration Study Project. Continue reading Introducing The Great Migration Directory
In the fall of 2010 I was in the midst of researching and writing the seventh and final volume in the Great Migration second series. The publication of that volume in 2011 would mean that sketches had been published for all Great Migration immigrants from 1620 to 1635, somewhat less than one-half of all those who came to New England during the entire Great Migration period, from 1620 to 1640. Given the quarter-century it has taken to reach this point in the Great Migration Study Project, I eventually, and reluctantly, concluded that I would not be the person to write the sketches for immigrants who arrived in New England between 1636 and 1640. And yet I did not want to abandon the Project at that point, and so began to cast about for a mechanism by which I could at least survey the remaining immigrants. Continue reading Compiling the Great Migration Directory
Now that my book on genealogical research methods (Elements of Genealogical Analysis) is out, I have turned my attention to the series of lectures I will be delivering in October and November; these, in turn, will form the basis for a future book entitled Puritan Pedigrees: The Deep Roots of the Great Migration to New England.
In most of the Great Migration volumes, I have been able to examine the motivations of the migrating families only in the context of events at the time of migration. A few years ago, while working on The Winthrop Fleet, I began to get a better feel for the deeper connections and influences which had been developing for decades and for generations leading up to the migration decision. Continue reading Puritan Pedigrees
Even as the Massachusetts Bay Company was establishing itself in New England in 1630, another London-based joint-stock company, the Providence Island Company, was beginning its settlement project on a small Caribbean island off the coast of Nicaragua. The Providence Island Company was also led by Puritan gentlemen, such as the Earl of Warwick, Lord Saye and Sele, and Lord Brooke. Such men were wealthier and of much higher social status than most of the Massachusetts Bay Company members. Continue reading From company to colony
The activities of the Massachusetts Bay Company in 1629-30 were uniformly organized from the top down. The Company either purchased or hired the vessels to carry the passengers and provisions. The passengers themselves, and especially the critically important professionals such as ministers and soldiers, were recruited by the Company leaders. Continue reading The Great Migration: Top-down, bottom-up
The Massachusetts Bay Company arranged for six vessels to sail for New England in 1629, only five of which reached their destination. The salient details for each of these sailings are summarized below:
George Bonaventure, Thomas Cox, master. She left the Isle of Wight 4 May 1629, and probably reached Salem during the first half of July. Samuel Sharp and the Rev. Samuel Skelton were two of the passengers. Continue reading Ships of the Winthrop Migration, 1629-1630
While the majority of the immigrants to New England between 1620 and 1640 were Puritans of some variety, a minority were conventional, conforming members of the Church of England, or of no particular religious persuasion at all. For example, West Country fishermen created settlements in Monhegan, Casco, and Richmond Island during the 1620s and early 1630s, accounting for (roughly) one thousand immigrants, or about five percent of the whole Great Migration. Continue reading Assorted populations of the Great Migration
Lately, I have been reading Tom Webster’s Godly Clergy in Early Stuart England: The Caroline Puritan Movement, c.1620-1643. Much of this volume is built around Thomas Hooker’s time in Chelmsford, Essex, in the late 1620s. One of my goals is to document in detail and with precision these years in Hooker’s life, a period in which he was lecturer at Chelmsford, school teacher at Great Baddow, and a leading influence on the development of young ministers of Puritan inclinations in East Anglia.
Much has been written about Hooker at this stage of his life, some of it from Cotton Mather’s Magnalia Christi Americana, not the most reliable of sources. Modern historians make repeated reference to the “household seminary” run by Hooker, and I am concerned that this aspect of Hooker’s career has been distorted by the way Mather presented his information. A fair portion of my research trip to England in the fall will be devoted to collecting copies of all the original sources for Hooker’s life in Essex, and reading Webster’s book is part of the preparation for that research. Continue reading Musings on seventeenth-century Puritans
John Camden Hotten first published The Original Lists of Persons of Quality – his compilation of documents relating to seventeenth-century migration to New England, the Chesapeake, and the Caribbean – more than a century and a quarter ago, and it remains one of our most valuable and accurate sources for that period. He included in the volume the surviving records from the London Port Books, along with lists from some of the English outports. In addition, he included some muster rolls from Virginia, and other items listing early settlers there. Continue reading English port lists of the 1630s